MOCA is deeply saddened and shocked by the devastating fire at Chinatown’s beloved 70 Mulberry. The MOCA team stayed on site until hoses stopped last night. We have reached out to emergency conservators. Thank you for outpouring of community support re: MOCA archives. pic.twitter.com/QqD1vFU5kO
— Nancy Yao Maasbach (@YaoMaasbach) January 24, 2020
Initial estimates of how much material had survived the ordeal were rather pessimistic, with reports claiming that if the fire was unable to reach any artifacts the water used to put it out was. Conservators from museums across New York and other volunteers have however decided to give Sun Zu a run for his money by attempting to recover the likely drenched documents.
The current status report: An estimated one third of the archives has been retrieved from the building, and 80% of this retrieved batch have been afflicted with moisture but appear salvageable. In addition 35,000 digitized objects have been recovered from back-ups. For further updates you can visit MOCA’s own page http://www.mocanyc.org/visit/ or follow MOCA’s Twitter.
This damaged scroll was recovered from our archives. It says Museum of Chinese in the Americas – MOCA’s name before 2009. During transfer to our recovery area, it was accidentally placed upside down. Seeing it that way, it feels like the fire has turned MOCA’s world upside down. pic.twitter.com/Q0hAEi14bv
— Museum of Chinese in America (@mocanyc) February 10, 2020
MOCA is an active advocate for archive digitalization, and in fact they had an event “Digitilzation Days” scheduled for this week -which has been obviously cancelled- where attendees would get a chance to digitize family photos, documents, VHS’s, cassettes tapes, and even vinyl!
A GoFundMe has been set up and for readers in the New York area those of you who might be interested in volunteering should contact firstname.lastname@example.org .